A Concise History of Future China
By Pat To Yan (Great Britain)
- Duration 1h, no interval
- In English
A country on the brink of civil war. Two generations, two cities, two opposite journeys. While the entire population is fleeing towards the South, the outsider struggles to get to the North in order to fulfil his mission. Time levels intermingle. The play refuses to comply with any linear, narrative dramaturgy and depicts the cruel phantasies of a contemporary society of asynchrony, ready for to relapse into barbarism.
Remembering the future is hard work nowadays. It can’t be done without the Outsider, nor without the white bone lady who can transform herself into anything, the man who witnessed pain and writes fake memories for other characters, the cat with a hole, a party member and a sinister girl with even more sinister dreams. They move through a region that appears more like a migration area, like a parade of the maimed straight out of William Kentridge’s stock of images, which in turn has landed in a kind of contact fire with Heiner Müller and still, like a kind of magic mushroom, gives off spores of an anime film from Kikiland, or an Avatar blockbuster. It is a journey towards the North, towards the capital, with everyone else fleeing in the opposite direction. A journey of many encounters, putting us through an aesthetic roller-coaster, through an ambivalent tableau of courtroom scenes, political speeches and war scenarios, where mutation is nothing but one of the most probable basic requirements for survival – no more than is to be expected in a setting of tyranny, somewhere between post-communism, post-Fordism and neo-capitalism. In such circumstances, the dividing line between the animate and inanimate can be nothing else than a vehicle for the business of political interpretation. Just like the constant transcription of the memories of others, against which the ever morphing fable brings itself into position, as a counter-story. And: Wait – what was that? An Antigone just walked through the scene, as if her tragedy had not ended long ago. Her resistance is one of the many stories of loss which manages to thwart the rule of fake memories in this exemplary China, which nowadays could never be only China alone. “A Concise History of Future China” resists any linear narrative dramaturgy, using highly concentrated poetical interweaving to elaborate the cruel phantasms of a contemporary society of asynchronies which is ready to regress into all kinds of barbarism – be it state-organised organ theft or hired assassins. A play where these phantasms sound so realistic, and the possibility of confusing reality and dream appears so plausible, that their mightiness makes us shudder. What if these nightmares have long since built a network and are ready to compete against our futures?
Scenic arrangement Philipp Preuss
Dramaturgy Stephan Wetzel
Scenography Ramallah Aubrecht